FONTANA (CBS) —  Eighteen years ago, Judith “Yudith” Bello – a married mother of two — went missing in Stanwood, Washington. She disappeared without a trace and was feared dead.

But several days ago, Bello turned up very much alive in Fontana. She had a new identity, a new life and a new family.

Jeff Nguyen, reporting for CBS2 and KCAL9, went delving into the mystery.

Ysidro Bello got a call from his former sister-in-law — saying she was alive. “Oh, I feel very happy,” he told a reporter in Washington, “Very happy. Whole family, whole friends, they’re excited you know.”

Nguyen showed neighbors Bello’s picture and they confirmed she lived in the house with her husband and three children. They said she moved into their neighborhood about six months ago.

That Bello had a new family came as something of a shock to Bello’s former family – they say she left behind two children when she vanished in 1993.

Back then, she was scheduled to pick up a son from daycare but she never showed up. Her car was found abandoned.

Relatives say Bello, then 28, ran off because her former husband was abusive.

She apparently came out of hiding after she saw herself profiled in a deck of cards about missing persons cases. She called detectives to say her case was solved.

Kevin Prentiss of the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Department said Bello can’t be charged with a crime. “She’s done nothing wrong…so, we’re just happy that she’s alive and well. And we’ll move on from there.”

Friday evening, Nguyen made contact with Bello — outside her home — but she denied his request to tell her story.

Comments (21)
  1. greg says:

    That’s good news for a change, a woman disappears and her body was found, alive, awesome for her, and she put her abusive husband through serious emotional trauma is even better, but the collateral damage is almost the same every time, the kids, but hopefully she will stay out of their lives UNLESS THEY want to see her.

  2. John Holmes says:

    She should have let police know when she first ran off that she was ok and saved many hours of police detectives from wasting time looking for her. I can’t believe she left her two kids behind when she knew her husband was abusive and should have taken them with her. I hope her kids were not abused by thier father, if so then she should be charged with child endangerment for leaving them with him.

  3. VES says:

    She is a coward, plain and simple. Instead of standing up to the alledged abuser, she decided to abandoned her children and ran away. She is an unfitted mother. Imagine she is taking her kids with her on a hiking trip, a bear came out of nowhere, she said I am so scared that I ran away to save myself, leaving her kids behind to fight for their lives. She is nothing but a selfish coward.

  4. greg says:

    VES, how can you be so righteous as to call her a coward, I have female friends that do all they can to survive to keep their kids safe from an abuser, I wouldn’t pass judgement so fast, I agree about protecting the kids but if she were dead who would protect the kids? We never know what’s happening behind someones closed doors. Apparently the kids are OK, she is OK, and all are alive and safe, seems like a happy ending

    1. RJ says:

      NO WHERE in this story does it say her original 2 kids are OK she is a horid mother if her husband was abusive then FINE leave his butt, but take your kids with you. she NEVER thought about the pain she was putting them through thinking their mother was dead. she never took in her mind the fact that if the man was abusive to her, that he is VERY likely to take her running off out on the kids. they say she DID NOTHING WRONG last time i checked child abandonment is a crime

    2. Brneyes says:

      I so totally agree with RJ, no matter what you do not leave your kids behind. Senora Bello, como dicen muchos es usted una cobarde por haber huido y haber dejado a sus hijos.

    3. Crystal says:

      Greg, How can you be so self rightious as to lecture someone for calling her a coward. It’s only natural that there will people who will judge her actions, she left her two young defensless with a man she claims is abusive. Then there’s the fact that she put her family through hell for 18 years. The difference with your female friends, is that they protect their kids. The same can’t be said for this woman, leaving your kids with an abuser and only saving yourself is not doing all you can do to survive to keep them safe from an abuser. She only kept herself safe.

      It’s doubtful it’s a happy ending (beyond the fact that she’s alive and safe). The kids she left behind are probably not taking the news that she abandoned them very well especially if they they grew up in an abusive household.

      [I agree about protecting the kids but if she were dead who would protect the kids?]

      That example doesn’t make her look sympathetic. If her husband was that abusive and dangerious, that means she left her kids in an environment where their lives could be at risk. Whatever went on behind closed doors, she had other options other then ditching her children. It’s not like it was the 50’s.

  5. Not Okay says:

    I don’t get it. If my husband was abusive, I WOULD TAKE THE KIDS TO PROTECT THEM! Those poor kids. It makes me feel like crying for them. Their own mother left them to the wolves.

  6. god bless her says:

    ths is amrika do what you want save yourself. that’s what everyone out there would do. its ez to judge from behind the computer.

  7. julia cervantes says:

    Yes, I have to agree only a coward leaves her children behind. If her husband was abusive what makes her think that her kids where gonna be safe if she left them behind. A mother always protects her children and A real mother never leaves her kid behind ” NO MATTER WHAT” This is actually my neighbor!
    Wow!! you just never know who is really your neighbor. She moved in about 6 months ago. I just really hope that her two children she left behind can forgive her one day! She could of at least told her family she was safe after she left of course with her children. This sounds like a bogus story in my opinion. She lives her life like any normal individual would. The weirdest thing is that her and my mother spoke many times like good friends would and she never mentioned she had five kids. She always made it she had only three young boys. I don’t want to sound so judgmental but this is just my opinion from a neighbor point of view!!!

  8. Sue Pritchard says:

    Nice… so she is in an abusive relationship and leaves. Great! BUT…she left her 2 children behind to face the same abuse? Despicable!

  9. BH says:

    Oh I’m sorry, I didn’t know bigamy was legal in America. Hope her 3 illegitimate children don’t mind.

  10. RJ says:

    not tech bigamy although i agree with you. since she was BELIEVED DEAD any marriage prior to her alleged death would no longer count. the real crime here is leaving her kids behind

  11. PubliusFL says:

    SHE knew she wasn’t dead, so it was bigamy under California law. Mistake as to death is only a defense for the abandoned spouse, who doesn’t know that the absent spouse is still alive.

  12. D2 says:

    So everyone just takes it as gospel that her husband was abusive? How do we know she just didn’t regret her choices and family? She wants to claim victim status so that she will get sympathy. I believe that way back in the early 90’s there were police, restraining orders and even divorce courts, of course that is only if she cared about her children.

  13. nicademus says:

    She messed up bigtime….leaving her 2 kids with her abusive husband.

  14. Maureen says:

    Some husbands abuse their wives but not the children. Maybe this was one of those cases. The little information in the article leaves much open for assumption, which is what everyone here is doing.

  15. Lisa says:

    Until any of you have walked in this woman’s shoes, none of you have right to pass judgement on her actions. Domestic violence is not so easily understandable, and no one truly knows what it is like trying to survive such horror unless they themselves have gone through it. May her ex did not abuse the children, maybe he only abused her. Maybe she was afraid if she left with the kids it would be easier for him to find her, and knew taking the kids from him would cause him to seek her out and kill her … no one knows the full facts since she is not willing to discuss it, and obviously her ex isn’t willing either. So again no one can make a fair or righteous judgement on this woman besides God.

    1. RJ says:

      Lisa read all the possible excuses you listed as to why she may have left with out her kids.
      1) maybe the ex did not abuse the kids
      NO A POSSIBLE THING SINCE IF YOU ARE ABUSING THEIR MOTHER WHO THEY LOVE YOU ARE ALSO ABUSING THEM. i know because my father abused my mother for years and it hurt me and my sister just as much as it hurt her
      2) maybe if she took the kids it would make it more easy for him to find her
      TRANSLATION ITS OK TO BE SELFISH AS A PARENT IN YOUR MIND?? she had as much duty to the kids as she had to her self. leaving them just to make her life less painful is the most sefish thing ever
      nothing you say can excuse this woman. even if your reasons hold true the VERY LEAST she could have done is sent them a letter telling them she was ok. but to let them belive she was dead makes her first in line for WORST MOM EVER AWARD

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